Aging in place: evolution of a research topic whose time has come

J Aging Res. 2012;2012:120952. doi: 10.1155/2012/120952. Epub 2011 Nov 17.


Over the past 30 years, policy makers and professionals who provide services to older adults with chronic conditions and impairments have placed greater emphasis on conceptualizing aging in place as an attainable and worthwhile goal. Little is known, however, of the changes in how this concept has evolved in aging research. To track trends in aging in place, we examined scholarly articles published from 1980 to 2010 that included the concept in eleven academic gerontology journals. We report an increase in the absolute number and proportion of aging-in-place manuscripts published during this period, with marked growth in the 2000s. Topics related to the environment and services were the most commonly examined during 2000-2010 (35% and 31%, resp.), with a substantial increase in manuscripts pertaining to technology and health/functioning. This underscores the increase in diversity of topics that surround the concept of aging-in-place literature in gerontological research.